TCL chairman Li Dongsheng is expected to visit Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino very soon, TheElec has learned.
His visit is likely aimed at winning supply orders for liquid crystal display (LCD) panels made by TCL subsidiary CSOT from the iPhone maker for use on its tablets and MacBooks, sources said.
The chairman recently visited South Korea to meet those from local display equipment makers and Samsung.
His trip to the US will follow the trip he made to Japan to meet those from JOLED.
CSOT is a fierce competitor to compatriot BOE in the global LCD market.
But BOE is ahead in LCD for IT products such as notebooks, tablets and monitors.
It is also ahead in OLED against CSOT for OLED panels used in smartphones.
BOE is already supplying LCD panels to Apple for MacBooks and iPads. According to analyst firm Omdia, the Chinese company is expected to be the largest supplier of LCD panels for iPads this year.
CSOT also formed a team during the first half of the year to review building an OLED production line aimed at iPhones.
CSOT’s expansion plan will, besides BOE, also threaten South Korean display maker LG Display, which leads the supply of LCD panels to Apple for high-end devices.
LG Display is expected to supply 14.8 million LCD panels to Apple for MacBooks this year, according to Omdia, making its share in this specific supply chain 55%.
Having another competitor in the supply chain like CSOT could add pressure on LG Display to cut unit prices.
Meanwhile, CSOT and BOE are also competing to win more LCD panel orders from Samsung for TVs.
The South Korean tech giant recently reduced its LCD panel orders from BOE because the latter refused to pay royalties. Samsung had recently demanded royalty payment from the Chinese panel maker for using its brand in marketing.
CSOT, meanwhile, is planning to supply LCD panels for high-end TVs to Samsung along with AUO, Sharp and LG Display this year.